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A church in Eritrea
Photo: Flickr / David Stanley (cc)

Security officers raided the Faith Missions Church in Eritrea's second largest city of Keren on June 23rd, confiscating property and arresting a number of those present -- including pregnant women and children. The church has been operating in the country since the early 1950s and seeking registration since 2002. However, the government has outlawed any religious practice not associated with either the Roman Catholic, Eritrean Orthodox or Evangelical Lutheran denominations, or Sunni Islam.

Even those groups registered with the government are not immune to prosecution. Authorities seized and closed 21 health facilities run by the Catholic church on June 12th, potentially risking the healthcare of thousands in rural areas. The next day, five Orthodox priests were also arrested. It is believed these actions result from recent calls for peace and reconciliation by church leaders.

In response to the current increase in oppression, Daniela Kravetz, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea, released a statement on June 21st, saying: "These actions show that, despite the improved regional climate for peace and security, the human rights situation in Eritrea remains unchanged." For more information on the persecution of Eritrean Christians, go to our country report.

Continue in prayer for our oppressed and imprisoned brothers and sisters in Eritrea, asking God to give them strength and peace in the midst of horrific conditions. Remember the children who so often suffer without understanding the reasons for the difficulties their families face. Lift up the leaders of the country and, in particular, President Afwerki. May they turn to faith in Christ and work towards upholding His statutes so the people can be governed with justice.

Country Information


6,147,398 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Tigrinya (50), Tigre (30), Saho (4), Afar (4) Kunama (4), Bilen (3), other (5)

Religion (%)
Islam (47.4), Christianity (48.8), other (3.8)

President Isaias Afworki (1993)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic religious law

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Operation World

Pray for Eritrea

Ask the Lord to provide imprisoned Eritrean believers a means of escape and a place of safe refuge. Pray for Him to also work deeply in the hearts of the country's governing officials so they will grant His people the freedom to worship Him and glorify His matchless name. Mindful of their own human frailties, may these political leaders realize the need to make Jesus their own personal Saviour and Lord by accepting His gift of eternal salvation.


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Eritrea News

  • Christians Arrested During Prayer Meeting
    Several rusty shipping containers - Photo: VOMC
    Prison officials continue to hold detainees in cramped, unsanitary shipping containers.
    Photo: VOMC

    In mid-March, 29 evangelical Christians were arrested when Eritrean security forces raided a home prayer meeting in Asmara. According to reports, 17 women and 12 men were taken to the Mai Serwa prison

  • Fifteen Christians Rearrested
    Video: Kidane Gebremeskel Gedion
    Click to view video.

    Eritrean authorities recently arrested 15 Christians during a series of raids on their houses in the capital city of Asmara. All 15 believers had been previously imprisoned for their faith – some for up to 16 years.

  • Three Elderly Pastors Arrested
    Georgio Gebreab and Samuel Okbamichael - Photos: Church in Chains
    Georgio Gebreab and Samuel Okbamichael
    Photos: Church in Chains

    Three semi-retired pastors in the Eritrean capital of Asmara were arrested towards the latter part of July. Since they were all over 70 years old, and only occasionally conducted funeral or wedding services, it is unclear why these elde